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White Sox, Indians get early season doubleheader

The Chicago White Sox hope to have manager Rick Renteria back in the dugout on Tuesday when they play a traditional doubleheader against the host Cleveland Indians.

General manager Rick Hahn issued a statement prior to Monday’s scheduled series opener, saying Renteria woke up with a “slight cough and nasal congestion” and would not manage in the contest as he awaited the results of precautionary testing.

Bench coach Joe McEwing was slated to manage in the absence of the 58-year-old Renteria before the threat of rain later that night ultimately resulted in Tuesday’s doubleheader.

“He says he feels great, he feels fine. Just being very cautious,” McEwing said of Renteria.

While the White Sox kept their rotation in order for Tuesday’s tilts, the Indians elected to shuffle the deck with an eye to the future.

Cleveland will send Aaron Civale (2019: 3-4, 2.34 ERA) to the mound for the opener against fellow right-hander Dylan Cease (2019: 4-7, 5.79). Righty Adam Plutko (2019: 7-5, 4.86) was inserted into the mix for the Indians in the nightcap versus left-hander Carlos Rodon (2019: 3-2, 5.19).

Cleveland will then send right-hander Zach Plesac for the series finale, thereby positioning ace Shane Bieber for the series opener against the defending American League Central champion Minnesota Twins on Thursday. The Twins ended the Indians’ three-year run as division champions in 2019.

But first things first for Cleveland, and it’s Civale.

“I feel good where I’m at. I put a lot of hard work in to get to where I am,” said the 25-year-old Civale, whose ERA in 10 starts was the lowest in the AL among rookies with 50 or more innings.

Civale split a pair of starts in his only two career meetings against Chicago with a 5.40 ERA, allowing seven runs (five earned) in 8 1/3 innings.

Cease, 24, made 14 starts as a rookie last season. His one meeting with the Indians came in September, when he permitted four runs while recording a season-best 11 strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings of a no-decision.

“I felt like last year I pretty much performed as poorly as I could,” Cease insisted to reporters during summer camp. “Most disappointing was not having good command. I pitched a little bit in September, it got better. For most of the year, it was just one of those years it was like a grind and a fight where I felt like I was trying to find it every day and searching for it.”

Plutko, 28, recorded a 1-1 career record with a 7.94 ERA in three appearances (two starts) against the White Sox. Jose Abreu is 0-for-6 with two strikeouts versus the hurler.

Rodon, who will make his first regular-season start since May 1, 2019, has posted a 5-3 mark with a 2.49 ERA in 15 career appearances against the Indians. Carlos Santana (8-for-24) and Francisco Lindor (9-for-30, two homers, five RBIs) have enjoyed success versus the 27-year-old Rodon.

Cleveland’s Cesar Hernandez, who has yet to face either White Sox pitcher in his career, hit safely in all three games of the season-opening series versus Kansas City. He had a pair of singles and scored twice in the Indians’ 9-2 victory over the Royals on Sunday.

The Indians were kept inside Progressive Field in the weekend series until Jose Ramirez’s two homers in the finale.

The White Sox, who went deep seven times in their weekend series with Minnesota, lost two of three high-scoring affairs at home. The Twins won the rubber match of the series with a 14-2 clubbing on Sunday.

–Field Level Media

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